Future of Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Flushing Meadows Park in the Present Day

Flushing Meadow Park Map

Flushing Meadows Park was not always a center of cultural development. However, with the changes suggested by park designers and landscape architects, the park now stands at its new found glory. It currently is the home for many facilities, such as museums, recreational centers, barbecue grounds, boathouses and stadiums. These structures bring thousands of visitors into the park every year. Numerous festivals, celebrations and outings are also held here throughout the year.

In order to decide how to make changes that will glorify the park, we first must understand the structures and buildings that are already standing there. Some of these buildings were built during the World’s Fair, while others house organizations that were established after the World’s Fair.

New York Hall of Science – First opened in 1964 as part of the World’s Fair and has continue to grow and expand with generous donations from members and help from the New York City government. This museum is open to the public and stands as one of the great science museums in the nation.

Queens Zoo – First opened in 1964 as part of the World’s Fair. Operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, along with assistance from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Includes a petting zoo for children to learn about and feed domestic animals under the watchful eye of the zoo employees.

Citi Field – Home to the New York Mets. Built adjacent to Shea Stadium, which was first constructed for the World’s Fair in 1964. Citi Field opened in 2009 and continues to stand as one of the great stadiums in Flushing Meadows Park.

Unisphere – Built for the World’s Fair in 1964 to celebrate the space age and peace through nationalities and countries relying on each other. Became an official New York City landmark in 1995.

Queens Museum of Art – Currently houses in the building that was first designed for the United Nations General Assembly in 1946. Housed the Panorama of the City of New York during the 1964 World’s Fair, which is still there today.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park Aquatic Center & World Ice Arena – House to an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a NHL-regulation ice rink. Considered the largest recreation center built in a city.

Queens Theater in the Park – First built as a Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair and converted into a theater in 1972. Dedicated to presenting performing arts that provide the audience with the highest quality of work.

Since all of these buildings cater to thousands of people each year, they heavily contribute to the erosion of the land. The paths that the public use to enter these institutions get worn out and the earth is eroded. In order to prevent this from happening, many of the roads are paved with cement. This slows down the erosion of the actual ground. In addition, the thousands of visitors each year also bring about tons of waste. In order to combat this problem, new trash receptacles have been added. It is also a part of a park ranger’s job to drive throughout the park and ensure that trash is thrown into the garbage cans and not into places where it can harm the environment.


Map Demonstrating Perimeter of Park 1

Effects of the Tornado on Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

On September 16, 2010, New York was hit by a tornado. Trees and lampposts fell. Rooftops were torn off of houses and churches. Cars were crushed and streets were blocked off from the debris. Areas full of trees were most devastated. Some tree trunks snapped in half from the harsh wind and rain, while others were completely ripped from the ground. Flushing Meadows Corona Park was a site that this disaster touched upon.

We first visited the park a few days after the tornado. The ground was still wet from the rain and thunder from the previous night. Fallen leaves covered the pathway making it dangerous and slippery to walk on. Many trees were roped off with caution tape because trunks were uprooted and branches were snapped and swaying with the wind. It was dangerous to walk through some areas because the trees above did not look stable. The park was a mess after the tornado. This video shows some of the pictures we took while we were there.

Future Recommendations for Flushing Meadows Park

Wetland Treatment System

The future of Meadow Lake and Willows Lake is the same as those of any natural body of water. Ecologists, scientists, park rangers and anyone who comes in contact with these wetlands wants to lower the amount of pollution currently there, along with creating an environment that will allow the lakes to thrive.

Kadlek and Knight, two wetland scientists, created an “American Wetland Treatment System.” This system shows exactly what needs to be down to save a wetland area based on the percentage of pollutants in the area and what the pollutants are. It gives the percentage that must be removed and how efficient the wetland will be after that percentage of waste is removed. Kadlek and Knight’s analysis also displays the mass of the wastes and what need to be taken out to reach a certain efficiency.

With the knowledge obtained by Kadlek and Knight, those who maintain Meadow Lake and Willows Lake can measure the amount of pollutants in the soil and remove enough the ensure that plants and animals will continue to thrive there.

Controlling Erosion

Flushing Meadows Corona Park is facing the problem of erosion. Erosion is known as the wearing away of the earth. It usually is caused by glaciers, waters, winds, waves, etc. However, Flushing Meadows is being eroded due to the amount of land abuse it endures. Each year thousands of visitors come to the park and use it for personal reasons. The grounds are used for soccer games, volleyball games, barbecues, various races, etc. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is also a victim to multiple land use and other disturbances. New roads are constantly built and old ones are regularly modified to create shortcuts and ensure that it is safe to travel on. Disturbances include the highway traffic that surrounds the park, as well as all the cars that are allowed to drive into and park at numerous parking lots within the park. All of these factor into the deterioration of the natural state of the park.

In order to restore Flushing Meadows Corona Park to its natural glory, plans for soil rebuilding and revegetation are in motion. Soil that is too polluted will be dug up and removed, while fresh new soil will be dumped in its place. Minerals and nutrients, as well as other organic ingredients, will also be added to give the remaining polluted soil a chance to recuperate. These plans will bring back the increase biodiversity and restore ecological systems. 2

Our Recommendations:

Trash Located Near Meadow Lake 3

When we visited Flushing Meadows Park we could not help but notice the presence of litter scattered throughout the park. We were not surprised because the park was created for people to come visit and use. There are many attractions within the park, and several open areas and fields that are oftentimes used by visitors for sports, barbecues among other things. In resolving the problem with litter, we would propose the addition of more receptacles for not only for trash but also for recyclables. Also we would propose that the park put signs throughout the park advising people to throw out their trash once leaving the park, and also to inform people of the benefits on keeping the park clean. We believe that the people who come visit the park do so on a regular and repeated basis so they would be on board with this initiative because they would want a clean park to come visit.

Diagram Demonstrating Difference in Surfaces Between Current Twin Lakes in Flushing Meadows Park and Proposed Surfaces for Twin Lakes 4

Diagram Demonstrating Difference in Depths Between Current Twin Lakes in Flushing Meadows Park and Proposed Depths for Twin Lakes 5

Furthermore, we would also recommend a change to the structure of both Willow and Meadow Lake. In doing our research, we concluded that being man made rather than being made naturally has had damaging effects on the environment surrounding both lakes. Not only has it resulted in poor biodiversity and a lack of ecological diversity, but the current structure of both lakes has caused the lakes to become eutrophic. Therefore we think that creating edges along the surface of the lakes, as well making the bottom of the lakes have varied depths will remedy these problems. Surprisingly, we saw that we weren’t the only ones who believed this to be true. In fact, several other researchers have made similar proposals.

Possible Reconfiguration of the Meadow Lake Edge with New Topographic Variation 6

Possible Reconfiguration of Meadow Lake Edges 7

Footnotes:

  1. "Conceptual Framework" Flushing Meadows Corona Park Strategic Framework Plan: 24″
  2. “Strategies and Techniques for Enhancement” Ecological Engineering and Restoration Study Flushing Meadows¬†Lakes and Watershed: 44
  3. "Existing Conditions and Problems" Ecological Engineering and Restoration Study Flushing Meadows Lakes and Watershed: 19″
  4. "Principles of Ecological Engineering and Restoration" Ecological Engineering and Restoration Study Flushing Meadows Lakes and Watershed: 39″
  5. "Principles of Ecological Engineering and Restoration" Ecological Engineering and Restoration Study Flushing Meadows Lakes and Watershed: 39″
  6. "Vision and Goals" Flushing Meadows Corona Park Strategic Framework Plan: 36″
  7. "Vision and Goals" Flushing Meadows Corona Park Strategic Framework Plan: 46″

One Response to Future of Flushing Meadows Corona Park

  1. Jason Munshi-South says:

    The beginning of this section still reads like a tourist brochure. Perhaps make it a bit more compelling.

    The video is interesting, but should be accompanied by some text and perhaps other photos to describe what happened (and what challenges are presented by such a destructive event).

    Can you mention something about the Flushing Meadows conservancy and successes / shortcomings of this type of group?

    It seems that the fonts are a little bit different in this page. Please standardize!

    Jason

Leave a Reply